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– Well, hello. Welcome to SPIRIT Club Meditation. My name is Rebecca. Thank you for joining us for today’s class. Please find yourself a safe, comfortable space with as little distraction as possible, so please turn your phones off or silence or do not disturb, close windows and doors, and ask people to be quiet around you if you’re in a busier space. And then make your way to a comfortable seat. If you’re seated on the floor, you might find it advantageous to prop your hips up by sitting on some pillows or a bolster. And if you’re seated in a chair, please make sure your feet are firmly placed on something strong and sturdy, either the floor, or maybe you need a stool or folded blankets to make sure your feet are grounded, all right? That way you feel totally comfortable and totally supported for your practice, all right? You might choose cross-legged posture or you might even sit on your heels. Your comfortable pose is unique to you. Feel free to move around, adjust yourself while I talk a bit and find the most comfortable seated posture you can, okay?
So, we’re all going to meditate today. Meditation is a practice that involves using a technique, and there are many ways to meditate. Today we are going to focus on the breath as best we can and use a little bit of visualization to help get our minds linked up with the rest of our spirit, so to speak, all right? It’s basically an object-based. There’s also mantra and other styles of meditation that you might enjoy. No matter what, please know that wherever you are in your meditation practice, you are exactly where you need to be. So, if this is the beginning, you’re here, you made it. Everyone, please give yourself a round of applause, a pat on the back. You made it to the most important or you completed the most important step of meditation, which is simply showing up for yourself, to spend a little time with yourself taking care of your mind, all right?
To set yourself up for success, it’s helpful to have a straight spine, so you might wiggle around on your sit bones for a moment to find proper alignment. And once you find the place where both of your sit bones, the pointy parts of the bottom of your hips, once those are both grounded equally, you can start rocking on your belly in the upper parts until you find your spine aligned in the center of your body, right between your hips. Then roll your shoulders up and down your back, broadening the chest. Relax your shoulders away from the ears. With an inhalation, please raise the top of your head, your crown, up towards the ceiling. And exhale, release, relaxing into your comfortable seated shape. Again, inhale, reaching your head upwards, stretching tall. And exhale, relax. Relax your jaw. You might open and close it. Take a swallow to release the throat. And gently close your eyes or hold a gentle gaze at nothing in particular.
Notice if there’s any tension, any muscles still active, and see what you can do to relax them a little bit. Give ’em a little wiggle. Anything that your body needs, gently release it. Allow yourself to settle into the present moment into the position that you have chosen for today’s meditation. Let your face soften and enjoy the simple pleasure of bringing your true self here and now. I offer all of us this prayer for our meditation practice. May we all enjoy this process of learning and growth, because that is what this is. If you are new to meditation, please be kind and compassionate to yourself. And if you’re an expert at meditation, please also be kind with yourself. Learning to control your mind and your thoughts is no easy feat and there are many ways that intrusive thoughts and disturbances will come to interrupt you or disturb you. Please know that whatever happens, whether you’re able to focus or not, you still put a good effort forward and that’s what matters, all right?
Meditation is a lifelong practice and patience is the keynote, for it is impatience which rips the petals of a rose, wishing to see it bloom, but only to destroy it. Those are poetic words from Kahlil Gibran. There may be days when meditation comes easy to you, when you’re able to just sit down and stare off into space and be perfectly at peace. And then there are other days where the mind is busy with the chitta vritti, as the yogas say, the busy thoughts. Please accept everything as it is now, however it is. Your mind, the space around you, whatever’s going on, let it be what it is. Your neighbor’s lawn mower, let it be. The puppy next door, let it be. It’s part of your experience. Let it go.
I invite you to listen to this analogy from Jack Kornfield, an invitation to accept that you are training your mind as if you are training a puppy, as if you are training your puppy to sit like you’re teaching your mind to sit. When the puppy wanders, as your mind will, instead of yelling or beating the puppy, you’re gonna simply invite it back to where you’re teaching it to sit, back into the present moment. Meditation is not about clearing the mind of thoughts. Meditation is about being aware of your thoughts and observing them from a place of non-judgment. The more you practice, the more you improve. So, please have faith in yourself. Now that we are all settled, calm, let us begin the guided meditation. Please close your eyes if you have not already done so.
To begin, feel the connection of your body to the floor or chair, feeling yourself connecting to the earth beneath you. Root down. Imagine you are growing roots out of your body, energy roots, so they might be invisible, but you can see them in your mind’s eye. And the roots reach out from the base of your spine and the points that meet the ground. Flowing down into the earth, traveling through the dirt, the rocks, the magma, all the way down, miles and miles, your roots reaching downwards towards the core of the earth. And your roots of energy tap into the liquid light of the core and feed it grounding energy. Feeling your connection to the earth and the earth connecting to you.
Allow the energy to travel up your roots as if you’re drinking it up like a thirsty plant. Feel the energy rising up, back up through the magma and the bedrock and the soil, all the way up into the floor beneath you. And the energy is getting drunk up by your body, pure earth energy. Feel it travel up your spine. Watching the energy rise up through your body, up your spinal column, from your tailbone to your low back, your mid back, your upper back, neck, all the way up to the crown of your head. Continue drawing energy from the earth up into your body and then let it fountain out the crown of your head. A fountain of light at the crown of your head. It begins to look like a glowing flower with more petals than you can count, the thousand-petaled flower. Perhaps you can see a color. What color is your flower? What color is the light? Perhaps you can hear it. Perhaps you can smell it, the flower or the light.
Turn your focus downwards from the crown, finding it moving to your heart now. Focus on your chest space and turn your awareness to your breath. Watch your breath follow the same path as the light. Your breath flows down your body to the belly and all the way back up your body as you exhale. Breathing in through your nose and the air flows down. Breathing out, and the air flows up, as if it is pumping your energy. You may release any visualization and focus exclusively on the breath, watching the air flow in and out of your body, allowing yourself to observe and become curious about the quality of your breath. Is it ragged or soft? Warm or cool? Moist or dry? Steady or staccato? Simply notice, no judgment. What is your breath doing?
I will now share some music for the quiet spaces so you know that the video is still playing. It is in these quiet spaces when we are able to meet our inner selves and listen. So, as your thoughts come through, let them. Let them float like clouds. They drift in and across the sky of your mind.
Continue to let them flow. If you notice that your mind has wandered, just like a puppy, invite it back to the present moment, back to your breath. The breath is linked to the present moment because it is consistently in transition, always moving. Just like time, always moving. Notice what your mind is doing. Is it calming down or is it speaking up, reaching for your attention? The mind likes to throw things at you. It wants your attention, but you have the choice to put those thoughts aside for later. If anything especially disturbing or intrusive comes up, feel free to take a nice, deep sigh, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, breathing in calmness. And as you breathe out your mouth, imagine you are completely releasing it, whatever is trying to take you away. Releasing and surrendering anything that’s not serving you.
Tune in to the cyclical nature of your breath. Imagine you are breathing in a circle. So, as you breathe air into your body you’re completing the first half of a circle. Then at the top of the circle, you transition into your exhalation to complete the second half of your circle. Breathing in and out, in and out, watching the cycle of your breath as it transitions. Moving air in and out of your body, bringing nourishing oxygen and releasing toxins on the way out. Let us deepen the breath now. A good way to slow the mind, and a good way to slow the heart is to slow the breath. This is why the third limb of yoga is pranayama, breathing, breath control.
I invite you to join me as I do a counting breath, breathing in for four or out for four. If you can breathe in for extra moments, for five and five, please feel free to do so. Otherwise, let’s all exhale together, pressing all of the air out of our bodies so we may begin together. Inhale, two, three, four. Exhale, three, two, one. Inhale, two, three, four. Exhale, three, two, one. Inhale, two, three, four. Exhale, three, two, one. Inhale, two, three, four. Exhale, three, two, one. Inhale, two, three, four. Exhale, three, two, one. Inhale, two, three, four. Exhale, three, two, one. Inhale, two, three, four. Exhale, three, two, one. Inhale, two, three, four. Exhale, three, two, one.
You may release the counting, and if you found the counting helpful for meditation, you may continue to do so inside of your head, in which case I observe you to lengthen the breath to five/five or longer. Notice where you are now after you’ve done this breathing technique.
Allow the sound of om to enter your awareness. Om is a seed sound. Chanting the word om has a very calming effect. Draw your awareness to the sound om in your head, in your ears. Like our cyclical breath, om is the cycle of existence from the beginning of the sound in the back of the throat, of birth, to the sustenance as you move your mouth forward towards the end, “O”. And then completion as your lips come together for the “Mm”. And then after the om, the void is silence, emptiness, the void.
Please begin to wiggle fingers and toes, gently bringing your body into a conscious state. Bring your first fingers and thumbs to touch and rub them together. Middle fingers and thumbs rub. Ring fingers and thumbs rub. Pinky fingers and thumbs rub. Rub all of your fingertips together and then bring your palms together above your heart and rub them until they build a good heat. And cup your hands over your eyes, taking a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Release the hands.
If you would like to join in an om, please remember it is a chant, not a song. All you’re doing is pressing air through your vocal cords, so it doesn’t have to sound pretty, just authentic, just a release of the energy, okay? It helps to have your hands together in prayer position with your thumbs on your sternum. That way, you can feel the vibration, all right? We’ll do two breaths. To begin, let us all exhale together. Breathe in, nose. Out, mouth. And on this one, we’ll om. Inhale, nose. Exhale, om. Om.
May all beings everywhere be happy and free. In honor of the light and love that we all share, namaste. I hope you enjoyed today’s meditation and enjoy the rest of your days as well. Thank you and goodbye.